Almanack Contributor Linda Friedman Ramirez

Linda Friedman Ramirez is a resident of Saranac Lake. She previously owned an art gallery in St Petersburg, Florida, and appreciates how art is integral to a community. She's contributing these artist profiles on behalf of ArtWorks, of which she is a member.

Monday, November 20, 2023

38th Annual Sparkle Village Craft Show and Sale set for Dec. 1-2

Sparkle Village craft show

By Linda Friedman Ramirez

The Harrietstown Town Hall will be shimmering the first weekend of December, with the 38th year for the annual Sparkle Village Craft Show & Sale. Sponsored by the Saranac Lake Area Chamber of Commerce with support from Adirondack Frontier, there will be some 45 vendors present as well as a number of nonprofit organizations. This show is well known for the high quality and variety of products offered for sale, with many vendors returning year after year. These include handcrafted jewelry, homemade dog treats, quilted items, candles, wood cutting boards, books, handmade soap, chainsaw carvings, watercolor paintings, note cards, photography, baskets, wood art, and more.

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Thursday, November 9, 2023

Creative Adirondacks: Saranac Lake Artist Michael Burpoe Paints Japan


Michael Burpoe in Akihabara, Tokyo, Japan, September 2023

Overseas travel is nothing new for Michael Burpoe, but the three weeks he spent this past year in Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto, Japan were his first time in Asia. Mike went to experience the people, food and beauty of Japan, and also to paint. And paint he did, bringing back some eighteen paintings and sketches. Mike painted for hours, day and evening both, but always making time to enjoy his surroundings and to sample Japanese cuisine. Mike travels with two backpacks, one to carry his watercolors, brushes and paper, and the other for whatever else he needs. His travel style is very relaxed, as he relies on public transportation and stays at hostels in part to meet other young people.

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Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Creative Adirondacks: Nancy Brossard: A Lifetime Passion for Painting

Nancy Brossard

By Linda Friedman Ramirez

The need to paint, and to paint well, has been with Nancy almost all of her life. She’s very clear that there is really nothing that could stop her from painting, as well as requiring that any painting that leaves her studio is worthy. In some cases, when she is not satisfied, Nancy will paint over a canvas or if it’s not possible, cut it up. Nancy will be exhibiting at the Downtown Art Center, Malone, New York as part of: Three Perspectives with Nancy Brossard, Charles Atwood King and Sandra Hildreth, [the] opening reception [took place] on September 29, 2023 [from] 5 to 8 p.m. [For more information, reference the following link:]

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Friday, September 15, 2023

Lake Placid Film Festival Student Summit to Bring the Newest Generation of Filmmakers

Lake Placid Film Festival Student Summit filmmakers

As we sit back and relax in front of the movie screen (or our computer,) it is easy to forget how much work goes into the making of a film. Clearly, anyone who ventures into the profession, must have passion and commitment. I wanted to learn about the creative young people who will be attending the Lake Placid Film Festival’s Student Summit,, a highly competitive scholarship program that will enable a number of students and recent grads to attend the festival. They will gather to learn and collaborate, and to share their dreams.

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Thursday, September 7, 2023

Creative Adirondacks, JBL! presents 8th Annual Blues at Timbuctoo

Jerry Dugger, Martha Swan and Gary Smith at the John Brown Farm in 2020.

The eighth annual “Blues at Timbuctoo” concert takes place on Sunday, September 17, 2023, from noon to 5 p.m. at the John Brown Farm State Historic Site in Lake Placid. The event is sponsored by John Brown Lives!, and is free and open to the public, with preregistration recommended. This year’s lineup includes: Jerry Dugger and The Harlem Blues Project, Jake Blount, Dave Keyes, Grant Dermody and Frank Fotusky, and the father-daughter trio, Adirondack Blues Reunion.

[Tickets are available here:]

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Tuesday, June 20, 2023

CREATIVE ADIRONDACKS:  Beauty is Limitless through the Eyes of Takeyce Walter

painting of kids swimming at sunset

Image at top: Sunset Swim, 6 x 6 pastel over gouache, Takeyce Walter (reference photo courtesy of Nicole McKasty-Stagg)

Coming to Paul Smith’s VIC this July 2023 are “These Waters,” the magnificent paintings of Takeyce Walter.   The exhibition opens on July 1, 2023  in the Heron Marsh Gallery from 6-7:30 PM with an opportunity to meet Takeyce.

Living in Round Lake, New York, Takeyce is a professional artist as well as a Board Member of the Adirondack Chapter of The Nature Conservancy (TNC). She paints in oil, pastels  and gouache, working both in plein air and in her studio, using reference photographs she takes while exploring her surroundings. You can discern that Takeyce spends considerable time outdoors for her to capture the details,  colors, and lighting found in upstate New York.  She’s particularly adept with sunlight, as it shimmers off the various lakes, ponds, and rivers of the Adirondacks, and her paintings have a magical quality.

Water is integral in many of Takeyce’s paintings. Takeyce was born in the beautiful island nation of Jamaica.  But it was after she came to the United States as a teenager to her first home on Long Island, that she surprisingly had more opportunities to spend time at the beach and in the water than she had during her childhood.  Later, after she and her husband moved to Saratoga County,  the family began sightseeing further north.  Takeyce discovered Chapel Pond in Keene which sparked the connection she now feels with the Adirondacks. Takeyce shares, “What made those moments special was exploring with my family and experiencing the wonders of discovery with our young son. Seeing the beauty of the Adirondacks through his eyes was unforgettable.”

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Monday, June 12, 2023

Kelly Griffin: You Have to Love this work and Other Lessons

kelly griffin, hairdresser and a client in a chair

Part of an ongoing series of women in business

Kelly Griffin knows of what she speaks.  Owner of hair salon Studio 30 in Saranac Lake, Kelly’s current clients include some of her first, when she first became a stylist some 30 years ago. She smiles at the thought that those first hair cuts might not have been her best, but the customers kept coming back. She continues to juggle the challenges of professional and personal life as the years have sped by.  But Kelly loves what she does, and that’s part of her message to young women who are making career decisions, the importance of loving what you do!

Ninth generation Saranac Lake, Kelly  is the daughter of Philip “Bunk” and Paula Griffin.  Her mother Paula was a nurse’s aid at Saranac Lake’s then General Hospital where her father  “Bunk”  was head cook. Paula was an inspiration to Kelly in many ways,  but particularly because of her compassion to others.  It was Kelly’s plan to become a nurse, and to work as a hair stylist while she attended nursing school. She began a cosmetology program at the Adirondack Education Center (  ) while still in high school.  After she took her State Boards, she was thrilled at her new profession as she felt pride in applying her caring and creative skills to make her clients feel better about themselves.   Thoughts of nursing took a back burner,

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Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Women are Rising Stars in Business

Kelly Griffin Petrie has been a businesswoman here in the North Country for nearly 20 years.  Kelly is here at her Studio 30 in Saranac Lake.   

Kelly Griffin Petrie has been a businesswoman here in the North Country for nearly 20 years.  Kelly is here at her Studio 30 in Saranac Lake.   

Businesswomen in the Adirondacks

Owning and operating a business is not for the faint of heart. Just consider the difficulties the pandemic presented!  But women in the Adirondacks do not shy from the challenge. Curiously, it wasn’t until  New York Congressman John LaFalce introduced legislation in 1988 that eliminated laws requiring women in some states to have a male relative sign a business loan.  The goal of that law, HR 5050: Women’s Business Ownership Act of 1988 (“WBOA”) was to aid the success of women business owners.   The law established the National Women’s Business Council to review the status of women-owned businesses nationwide and to develop detailed multi-year plans to assist and promote such businesses.  [1]

Fast forward 35 years.  There are now more than 10 million women owned non-employer (no paid employees) firms, for a share of 41% of all nonemployer businesses in the US.    The US Census also maintains some details about women business ownership. Women Business Ownership in America On the Rise. In FY 22, the Small Business Administration, in its Upstate New York District alone, made 92 traditional loans to woman-owned businesses,  with a total value of $32.3 million.   Katrina Ballard, the Women’s Business Liaison at the SBA office in Syracuse, pointed out that the SBA microloan program is  a good option for women entrepreneurs who are looking for small dollar loans of up to $50,000.  In FY22, the SBA Upstate New York district office made 23 such microloans totaling $468,000 to woman-owned small businesses

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Thursday, August 18, 2022

Inside the green buckets: Blue Line Compost

blue line compost

You’ve probably seen Blue Line Compost’s green buckets around the area, particularly at the bucket swap sites located at Coakley’s Hardware in Saranac Lake  or Green Goddess in Lake Placid. You probably know that Blue Line is collecting food waste to compost and keep out of the landfill.  What might surprise you is that Blue Line Compost, an Adirondack based business, was collecting on average 3,785 pounds of food waste per week at the end of 2021. Some of that is residential food waste, but the majority is from restaurants, schools and other commercial businesses.

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Thursday, July 7, 2022

Creative Adirondacks: Photographer Mark Kurtz

mark kurtz

If you are searching for iconic images of the Adirondacks, particularly panoramic views of the Saranacs, you’ll do no better than those of fine art photographer Mark Kurtz.  Already successful with his magical, scenic views, Mark is deeply committed to his craft and to digging even deeper so as to create new and unique photographs. His studio gallery on Main Street,  Saranac Lake, New York, has the feel of a museum, with multiple rooms in the upstairs of an 1800’s building on Hogan’s Block of Main Street, filled with original film and digital photographs, cameras, proof sheets and memorabilia. 

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Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Trying to keep up with Emily Russell

Emily RussellAs a fan of NCPR journalist Emily Russell, I wanted to learn how she’s able to accomplish so much with her radio news reports. Although usually under 4 minutes, her stories effectively bring attention to people and issues in a creative and entertaining manner. Whether it’s about race or gender issues, abortion, or the issues facing the Adirondack Park, Emily’s stories are always slightly different than mainstream media.

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Friday, May 20, 2022

Creative Adirondacks: Photographer Skip Murray

skip murraySkip Murray is a fine arts photographer who values the art of taking a good photograph more than the type of camera equipment he is using. Whether it’s the delight in a child’s face, the dynamic energy of brilliant holiday fireworks, or the collective joy of a summer Saturday market, Skip’s focus is capturing the emotional essence of what he is photographing. His camera, currently a Nikon SLR,  almost seems like an afterthought, although he is sure to have it with him. Whether he’s planning on photographing an event, or not, you’ll see Skip with his camera around his neck on the off chance that  he sees  a shot he would not want to miss.  He’s also not adverse to taking a photo with an iPhone.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Below the Clouds at Adirondack Regional Airport

airport manager

I had been following the news about monies coming to most of the North Country airports from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).There were also reports of grants being made, some of which I have since learned had been from the CARES Act of 2020, and from the Airport Improvement Program (AIP).

I wanted to better understand how our regional airports operate, how commercial airlines and their routes are selected, and how airports are  funded.   It’s an understatement to say that “it’s complicated.”  

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Monday, April 18, 2022

Creative Adirondacks: Winosha Steele, a multimedia artist with Caribbean roots

winosha steeleWinosha Steele, a recent graduate from SUNY Plattsburgh, is already one of the area’s most recognizable and versatile creatives. Several of Winosha’s oil portraits are included in Reflections, a duo exhibition with Peter Russom at Saranac Lake’s BluSeed Studios. Some of the portraits are of family or friends, and some are of herself. Every face is different, and every expression is endearing.

What immediately caught my eye at the exhibition was, Evocation, a collage of self portraits, using pencil, paper and chalk pencils.

Pictured here: Winosha with Evocation at BluSeed Studios, Saranac Lake, New York March 5, 2022. Photo by Skip Murray.

“The literal meaning of Evocation is the act of recalling a feeling, memory or image to the conscious mind. This is precisely what I want this piece to do. To resonate with my constant development as an artist, throughout the years, throughout my existence.”

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Thursday, December 9, 2021

Creative Adirondacks: Graphic artist Karen Davidson Seward

Karen Davidson Seward

While she prefers staying out of the limelight, graphic designer Karen “Ren” Davidson Seward is well known in the North Country arts community for her collaborative spirit, talent  and generosity.  She has been involved in some of the most popular exhibits in the area, among them, the Wild Center exhibits at Whiteface Mountain, a revision of the exhibit Dreaming of Timbuctoo  and the Memorial Field for Black Lives at John Brown Historic Farm.

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